Why Me?

Over the years I’ve had ALS, I’ve become convinced that for a Christian to retain hope in the midst of a difficult trial, he or she must believe that God allowed the trial for a purpose; a purpose greater than what God would have been able to accomplish in and through that person apart from the trial.

“…even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

I think every Christian that goes through a difficult trial will eventually ask “Why me?”  

Patio profile

But, I’ve learned that our motive behind asking this seemingly simple question says a lot about how we view God – and also a lot about how we view ourselves.

The first man asks the question like this: “Why me; out of 7 billion people in the world, why did I get ALS (or whatever)?”

He’s really asking, “Why didn’t God put this horrible trial on one of the other 7 billion people?”

This man has a warped view of God and an exalted view of himself. He views his trial as pointless, and he thinks that he should somehow be exempt from the suffering of humanity.

I know what I said about this first man sounds harsh and judgmental, but I know this man well; in a spiritual and emotional sense, I wrestled with him for several months after being diagnosed with ALS.

Thankfully, with the help of God’s word, wise counsel from Christian friends and a well-timed conversation with our non-Christian next-door neighbors, I began to see that there might be a purpose, an eternal purpose, behind my trial. I defeated that “woe is me” man who was fighting to take control of my thoughts and emotions. (More about our next-door neighbors further down).

The second man asks the question like this: “Why me; what’s God’s purpose behind allowing this horrible trial?”

This man has the correct view of God and of his place in the world. As a Christian, this man knows that God wouldn’t have allowed this trial unless He had a greater purpose, a purpose that outweighs the suffering this man would have to endure (from his trial).

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

That verse can only be true if we have an eternal (“Big Picture”) view of our trial. God still heals and performs miracles, and I believe that we should always pray for that result. (Never give up on God doing miracles!)

Regardless of the outcome, God can bring about eternal good from every trial.

In a hundred years, the eternal good that comes from our trial will be the only thing that matters.

A difficult trial (usually) causes the Christian to focus more on the spiritual and the eternal things because, by comparison, the temporal and the material things begin to look more and more insignificant.

Back to our next-door neighbors: Mike and Lorraine were not followers of Christ when we met them. Of course, we did our Christian duty and invited them to church and tried to share the “Good news” with them. Even our girls (then 4 and 7) invited them to church, but all to no avail.

Mike and Lorraine later told us that they mocked us in private. I told them that I could relate because, before making a commitment to follow Christ, I mocked Christians too. Let’s be honest, making fun of Christians is so easy.

But, after I was diagnosed, Mike and Lorraine began to reexamine the faith that was sustaining our family through this trial. Lorraine told me:

“…When you were diagnosed with ALS I began to see a man who held no anger with the God that ‘allowed’ this to happen. Then you began to demonstrate trust in God’s plan. I saw your faith and I saw two little girls accept what God was doing in your lives and I began to wonder how such young children could love God unconditionally. I opened my heart first to the possibility that this might be a good thing for me as well. Then I finally got it and allowed my brain to accept the basic truth that God is only good, loving and faithful…”

Mike and Lorraine made a commitment to follow Christ and faithfully attend church and share their faith with others. (Now people probably make fun of them).

Would Mike and Lorraine have made a commitment to follow Christ if we had not gone through this trial? Obviously, only God knows the answer to questions like this. The only thing I know for sure is that this trial has strengthened my faith and has also given me more confidence in sharing that faith.

But, I admit that difficult trials can feel like you’re serving a prison sentence, especially when you have ALS and you’re imprisoned in your own body. However, the Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament while imprisoned. And, many of his fellow prisoners and the guards that observed Paul, became followers of Christ. Only Jesus can spread a message of hope through a prisoner – this is truly Unshakable Hope!

UPDATE: Sadly, Mike went through a long battle with cancer and is now with Christ in heaven. I am looking forward to seeing him again.

I hope I’ll see you there also.

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)

(I have made changes to my blog, please let me know if you are having problems with it loading…)

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on June 14, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 295 Comments.

  1. You have been nominated. You and your family are in my prayers. <3


  2. Jeanette Rouse

    I admire you so much Bill Sweeny. I too have ALS. Just diagnosed last Sept but I am 71 years old. I have been blessed to live most of my life normal. About a year ago slurred speech caused me to start tests but after various drs 2 months later the diagnosis came. I feel God was trying to get my attention. I am totally committed to my Heavenly Father. I live alone and still drive and volunteer at a local hospital 2 days a week. I have a great Dr in Dallas I see every 3 months. I am scared about feeding tube and eat fine but choke some and my speech getting worse. Your story empowered me. You are my hero…

    • I admire you so much, Jeanette. I’m so sorry that you have ALS, but you have obviously allowed God to work in and through you. I’m so glad to hear you are volunteering and reaching out to others. About the feeding tube, I too was hesitant to get it. I weighed 175 pounds when I was diagnosed and it became difficult for me to eat enough to maintain my weight – I got down to 118 pounds, Jeanette! The neurologist at the ALS Clinic had been urging me for two years to get the feeding tube, but still I refused. He called me a “stubborn SOB” and said he would not be my doctor anymore. You know what, Jeanette, he was right, I was, and to some extent still am a stubborn SOB 🙂
      Please take my advice, my new friend, get the feeding tube ASAP. You will be able to maintain your weight and just eat for enjoyment. I have had aspiration pneumonia from choking, bad stuff. The tube is no big deal, Jeanette, please don’t do like I did and wait until it was the tube or death. It will improve your quality of life.

  3. If anyone has a personal claim on those words of Paul, it’s you, Bill. Your words and heart never fail to stir me.

  4. As you say, Bill, this is an essential lesson for Christians. However, it requires both humility and insight to acknowledge that there may be a purpose in suffering. You possess both in abundance.

    Before we are saved, the sin nature common to mankind prevents us from submitting to God’s will. We may recognize evil (especially if it befalls us or those we love). But we tend to blame God for the existence of suffering in our flawed and broken world. Reasoning from our own nature, we assume God must be cruel to allow suffering. But His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways not our ways (Isa. 55: 8-9).

    This does not so much mean that He is “inscrutable”, but rather that His love — and justice — are pure and rarified beyond anything we can imagine. He sees the end from the beginning. The good He is able to accomplish through suffering and despite it can extend across generations. After all, the suffering of His Son was planned as our Salvation from the beginning of time (1 Cor. 2: 7; 2 Tim. 1: 8-9).

    With love,
    Your friend Anna <3

    • Thank you for your insightful comments, my friend Anna.
      It’s so true that the natural mind cannot figure God out (“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” 1 Corinthians 2:14). It’s easy, natural really :-), for the “natural man,” who thinks God should be able to be figured out like a math problem, to reject and blame the idea of God for suffering. When CS Lewis became a Christian after being an atheist for years, he concluded, “Atheism is too simple.” It’s frustrating that, when writing about suffering and freewill… (the two are inseparable), you know that the natural man will reject I your thoughts unless he or she has an open mind, “eyes to see and ears to hear.”

  5. Edward Sweeney

    One of the the great joys of UnshakableHome, Bill, is reading through all the comments — and there are so many that are touched by your thoughts and words. So much powerful testimony! Lorraine and Mike’s example is a remarkable reminder how, even passively, God worked through you and your example to change someone’s perspective. How powerful is THAT! Love from us…

    • Thanks, Ed. Lorraine moved closer to her daughter and grandkids after Mike passed away. She lives in an assisted living facility, found a good church and is volunteering with a ministry that has a halfway house to help ex-convicts transaction to a productive life. She’s bearing good fruit even though she’s elderly and has serious and painful health problems. She’s a great encourager.

  6. Wow thank you for sharing this; may the Lord use this post for those going through various trials. Keep up the faith and light brother

  7. I wish I knew you in person! You’re so inspiring…and you’re living how I strive to live…grateful in spite of challenges, and faithful in spite of fears. May God bless you!!

    • Claudia, thank you very much for your encouraging message. I still have a long way to go before I get to be the man I want to be, spiritually, emotionally and physically 🙂

  8. This is so encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing your story. While I’ve never questioned “Why us?” through our trials, I’ve also never asked “for what purpose?” It’s a good question! I guess I’ve never questioned because I always trusted that there was purpose behind it all. I’ve learned a lot through all of it. I wasn’t a Christian when I met my husband so I had so much to learn! I’m still learning to trust God completely. God bless you and your family. Keep sharing! There’s a lot of comfort and hope in your testimony.

    • Thank you, Tina. I’m so sorry that you and your husband are both going through health challenges. Unfortunately, as I think you guys have discovered, we never really go through just one trial at a time, wouldn’t that be nice? Every area of our lives are so interconnected that a health challenge usually impacts our finances and the stress from both of these can affect our relationships, and on and on it goes. I am praying for you guys.

      • Thanks so much! I was praying for you today myself, added you to my prayer list! I’ve been praying for miracles, so why stop now! 🙂

        • Thank you so much for your prayers, Tina. I really have the sense that the prayers of others are sustaining us. I will be praying for you and your family.

          • Question!? Would you mind if I linked to your “Why Me?” article in one of my up coming posts? I’ve been working on a piece for a while , and what you’ve said here really resonated with me. It ties into the process I’ve been going through, but covers a base I hadn’t: purpose in our trials. 🙂 Yeah, that’s a really line of thought.

          • Definitely, Tina, I am happy that you want to include it in your post. Thank you.

          • Great! Thanks! I have a two-parter coming up, I think the link will fit into part 2! Prayers going up…love comes down. Bless you and all of yours.

          • Thanks, Tina.

          • I hope you like questions, cuz I gotz another one for ya! I’ve been printing up some of my own writing for my mother-in-law, and I was wondering If I could print up what you’ve written to tuck into my booklet for her as well?

          • Thank you, Tina. Absolutely, is the answer to your question. My 85 year old mother-in-law lives with us and has an IPhone, which she uses just to talk to friends and family, and she has a tablet computer, which she uses just to play solitair. My wife prints my blog posts for her 🙂

          • Thanks so much! And thank you for sharing the things that you do. 🙂

  9. Bill, I praise the Lord for you, for making you a witness of His grace. This world is truly the first life preparing us for the next; using the darkness of this world as a canvas to paint His glorious image through us for the world to see. I pray His continued blessings upon you and through you and your family, blessings that will extend and leave seeds after you and I are gone. Your post fits with mine today. I will use it as a related article. The Lord is doing a great work and so we will continue to praise Him.

  10. Bill, I think you’re still here and beating the odds because God is obviously still using your life.
    Your absolutely right, getting a right view of God in the midst of trials is the most important (and hardest) thing.

    • Thank you, Sierra. I keep hoping and praying that God will use me. It is difficult to get a correct view of God when we’re in the midst of a trial. It’s so important to get a proper view of God before the trial, after all, Jesus did warn us that trials would come our way.
      “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

  11. Bill… I really like the new look of your blog. I understand so well the ‘why me’ ..When I went through many years of depression that question got asked quite a bit… and then I would think ‘well God is allowing this but how would it possibly be for any good purpose’…I knew that verse so well. I don’t know if during some of the very difficult years, I really accepted that God was allowing it for ‘some purpose’. I knew He was along side of me, I knew He could heal me… and wondered why He didn’t.
    It wasn’t till actually when the healing began and continued, that I looked back at the circumstances at the time…. and I looked at the number of people over several years after, who were going through similar challenges… who I could say ‘I truly understand; I’ve been there’. Hopefully it was some comfort to know they weren’t alone in their distress…. For many years, I really didn’t have anyone who could say that, and felt so alone …. And actually I often think that I am who I am because of everything that has happened in my life, to bring me to today. And that’s a good thing!

    • Thank you for noticing the changes I made to my blog, Diane. It took me a few days 🙂
      our difficult trials do humble us and draw us closer to Christ, which makes us more like Him so we can be used for Him. You have been through some difficult trials, Diane, the Lord is using you.
      That said, I am convinced that we should keep seeking miracles to rescue us from our trials. If God is using us in our suffering, why should we seek a miracle to relieve us from our trial? Because God uses miracles to give hope and draw the lost to Himself. And, miracles cause rejoicing 🙂
      “…many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was much rejoicing in that city.” (Acts 8:7-8)

  12. So encouraging and convicting! Thank you.

  13. Back in 2009, when I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis I asked why me. About the middle of the year they added fibromyalgia and at the end of that year epilepsy was added. By that time I was yelling WHY ME, LORD?!! It has drawn me closer to Him which I think was His main objective. I’ve been a Christian since I was a little girl, but usually talked to him only a couple times a week or when things were really tough. He’s healed the fibro and epilepsy, but I still have to deal with the MG. I think He’s using me through my writing and the smile He gives me because I know I’m safe in His arms.

    • Wow, you have been through some horrible stuff! I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, but I’m glad your trials have brought you and others closer to Christ. After all, it’s about eternity, right?

  14. Reblogged this on thotsfromgeorge and commented:
    Thank you for sharing this great post of trusting God in all circumstances.
    Reblogged and posted to fb. Everyone needs to read this.

  15. I needed to read this so much today. Thank you. Thanking God for the timing of it all as I wrestle with God in trusting Him in the midst of some things that have surfaced this week. Unshakable Hope in the One who gives reason for hope in the first place… “hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:8) Believing that and thankful for the reminder that Come what May He is worthy of our trust.

  16. It’s so good hearing the bigger story and how your journey has encompassed your neighbors because they got to SEE your walk through this. And now Mike is with the Lord because you lived out loud. Thanks for the greater picture here, Bill.

    • Thank you, Dayle. It’s such a great feeling to think that our family played even a little part, maybe only a 1% part, in Mike and Lorraine’s salvation story. That’s a feeling I want to experience thousands of more times; it gives me the drive to get out of bed every morning.

  17. Kathryn Graber

    Bill – your words always help me to learn more about myself and my relationship with Christ. You are blessing to me and so many others. Such an excellent blog – makes me stop and think. Thank you – Kathryn Graber

  18. What a fabulous testimony. And you’re passing that heart along to two girls who will know how to trust and how to shine light in the darkness. Thank you and God bless!

    • Thank you, Nancy. Our girls have great faith and are instilling their faith into our grandkids. On and on it goes, just as God intended it to be. Good stuff.

  19. Jamie Marquardt

    Hi Uncle Bill! As always, your words are so humbling. I have a Christian friend going through a pretty difficult trial right now, and although her faith is strong, I know that this trail has shaken her and her family. I know that your post will bring her strength and hope. Thank you. Love to you and Mary! ~Jamie

    • Thank you, Jamie. So many people helped to strengthen our faith at the beginning of this trial and even now. I hope this simple post helps to strengthen the faith of your friend. Love you.

  20. Beautiful post Bill and timely too. I’ve been pondering the question on why God “allows” good people to suffer through such things. While I know in my head there are eternal reasons I can’t possibly comprehend, you’ve done a good job coloring in the lines of God’s goodness and purposefulness behind everything He does.

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Tricia.
      I have not been avoiding “Why bad things happen to good people” in my posts, but I am now going to make more of an effort to take it on in future posts.

  21. Your big view thinking and strong faith continue to inspire me, every time you post, Bill. How wonderful that Michael is in heaven because of you and your family, and Lorraine will be able to join him, because of you and your family. Your influence will undoubtedly be the catalyst for many others to be there as well. And for those of us who already know Jesus, you provide glorious encouragement and hope. We praise God for you, Bill!

    • Thank you, Nancy. I don’t know if Mike and Lorraine would have made a commitment to follow Christ apart from our witness, but I am thankful that God used us. We talked to Lorraine last night and she told us that their reliance on God through Mike’s cancer battle was such a comfort and strength. And, the Holy Spirit continues to bring comfort to Lorraine in her grief. God is using her mightily.

  22. I’m always refreshed when I read your posts, thank you! (PS–The new format looks great! 😉)

  23. Bill, thank you so much for this timely message.

    I have been in prayer for several weeks regarding similar questions and seeking peace in the midst of the trials. Like with Paul, God worked in the “shut-in” places to bring forth many beautiful messages of “Unshakable Hope” for others to benefit from to strengthen our faith.

    • Thank you for your comments. If we want to hear from God, we really do have to go to the “shut-in places.”
      “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

  24. Thank you so much for reposting this. It is powerful indeed. That your condition was the starting point to your neighbors coming to Christ is a living testimony of the things your wrote about, particularly Romans 8:28. Thank you for this huge dose of encouragement to start the day off with!

  25. Love this! What an inspiring, heart felt word!! I have asked the question, Why Me?, for I did nothing to deserve or merit the grace, goodness and blessings I have received. It almost makes me feel guilty for being too blessed, for no reason, by the Creator, for I truly deserve none of it.

    May peace and grace rest upon you and your family!

  26. God is good ALL of the time! God IS using you! How awesome is that????

  27. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ve only just started to read your blog posts and can truly see how God is using you to touch so many lives. You and your family are a blessing 😊

  28. This is a hard lesson for people today to take in. Our culture expects a ready fix, a happy ending right on time. Those of us who struggle w/ permanent problems of one type or another can actually feel that we’ve let our friends and relations — even our doctors — down. That’s not, of course, the reality. Suffering (w/ Christ there to sustain us) deepens our faith, and our understanding of the eternal. You are a role model in this, Bill. Thank you.

  29. Reblogged this on Christian Warrior and commented:
    “I don’t believe God causes trials, but He clearly does allow them for reasons I don’t believe we will ever fully understand, at least not in this life. But, whatever other reasons God has for allowing trials, I discovered two big things that He accomplishes through our trials; He helps us reset our priorities and forms our character. ”

    Quoted from this site.
    I also understand this, God allows them for what they can do in ours and others lives for good.

  30. Thank you, I too see the hand of God in how others see me dealing with my illness.

  31. Reblogged this on Prodigal Chick and commented:
    A must read!!

  32. Thank you….oh my goodness what a blessing your post is!!! I am the second questioner oh lord what is your purpose in all of these horrific trials and extreme tribulations I know you have one and it is for your glory. Lord keep me steady and straight through this vast desert wasteland.
    Again thank you for your post it has lifted me up from the pit of despair an the valley of “oh no!”. Blessings to you and yours.

  33. Brother Bill..I hope you and your family are being blessed

  34. I remember asking “Why me?” when wondering why I had a hysterectomy at age eleven. After drawing closer to the Lord, while in my upper 20’s, I began to think, “Why not me? Why would I want anyone else to go through this?” I absolutely believe that the freedom we experience in the abundant grace of God frees us to move from being victims to becoming victorious. Thank you for such a wonderful post!

  35. Very inspiring and humbling! May God give you strength and cheers.
    Kind regards.

  36. Thank you for sharing your trial and triumph through Jesus Christ. I have a blog I hope is a blessing to you. God bless you and your family.

  37. “The second man asks the question like this: “Why me; what’s God’s purpose behind allowing this horrible trial?”

    The core and root of my dilemma right now, simply and beautifully illustrated by you. Thanks for finding me Bill: I look forward to whatever words of inspiration the Lord puts in your mouth in the weeks and months ahead.

    • Thank you, Don. To be honest, I don’t fully understand the purpose of why God allowed this trial, but when we know His nature and understand that He wouldn’t allow bad things without having a greater purpose in mind, that’s enough to get us through and keep us seeking…

  38. Love this testimony Bill. Love how God works through us when we follow. Thank you!!

  39. How are you and the family Brother Bill..

  40. Almost 20 years ago, when tragedy struck in my life, I learned to face the situation by turning the question,”Why me?” around. Instead, I learned to ask,”Why not me?” I realized that I wasn’t any more special or privileged than anyone else and this made me stronger. Thank you for sharing your story, and for demonstrating the positive things that can result when we let God plant hope in our hearts.

    • “I realized that I wasn’t any more special or privileged than anyone else and this made me stronger.”
      That is exactly right, Tina! Isn’t it strange how that simple revelation can be so freeing? I don’t believe we can ever feel and act on true empathy until we come to this realization.

  41. this a wonderful message Bill. I have struggled with serious mental illness and addictions, but the Lord saved me four years ago. Im hoping to share my story and give hope. I think its an incredible testimony to our God that you still love him and find joy in being used for his purposes even after such a difficult diagnosis.

  42. I love this post!

    When it took my husband and I 10 years to receive an answer to our prayer for a child…I asked, “Why me? Why did it take so long???” But, I know now that by believing it was God’s will for us, and trusting Him…His timing was perfect!! It’s helped us to see how precious a child is!! I teach, minister in kids church, and direct a drama team where I can be used to encourage children!!

    It’s also taught us not to sweat the small stuff!! And in God’s eyes, since He can handle everything…it’s all small stuff!

  43. Your steadfast belief and faith amaze me. God bless you.

  44. Reblogged this on Walking On Water Ministries International and commented:
    I am sure we can all relate.

  45. “…even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

    I love this! thanks for a great post

  46. Thoughtful post, Bill. Thanks for sharing the story of your neighbors. We never know how brightly His light shines through us, if we allow it to.

  47. This was great, Bill! Every time I stop by your blog I leave smiling 🙂 Thank you for sharing your perspective with us, as well as the felicitous scripture. God is using you in a powerful way through your writing, and you are one of my inspirations as I move forward in both my walk and my blog. Also, you reminded me of an idea that I want to blog about soon! I’ll give you a shout out when I do!

  48. Bill, First thanks for visiting my blog — that’s why I am here at yours. And I am so glad I visited. My answer to the Why Me? question is Why Not Me? God has done great things in our family. We’ve had a life full of unexpected situations that have allowed God to shine through us (I hope). Last December my husband’s health suddenly put him into the hospital and made him question so many things. But God did great things through that time. Then in the 3rd week of March we suddenly lost our 11 year old daughter to an illness. I am still in shock about it actually, but i know she’s in heaven. Oh, she loved Jesus so much! We miss her, but from the beginning of losing her we’ve seen God’s love and compassion and ability to use a tragedy to bring people to Himself. Thank you Bill for being honest and sharing from your heart. ALS is a scary thing to me — probably one of the scariest things I can think of to find myself having. But I know in whatever situation we find ourselves in, God is already there and will use it if we let Him.

    • Thank you so much for your inspiring comments, Jane! I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot think of anything more difficult than losing a child, especially a young child like your 11 year old daughter; I just cannot imagine that kind of pain! You are in my prayers. I am looking forward to learning from you how God comforts the grieving and helps us retain hope. God bless you, Jane.

  49. Thank you Brother Bill for the visit..I hope you and the family is doing well..

  50. Perfect timing for me today! Thank you for commenting. So thankful for the way He opens our eyes to others.

  51. This is good truth. God is teaching me the same things in my own fiery trial. My husband died suddenly 5 months ago at age 30. I totally recognize that it is only Christ who sustains me and is carrying me. I’m most definitely still a mess. I admit, I have been the “first man” in your story, but praise God that His grace is teaching me to be the second. My husband was a passionate Christ follower, and he always encouraged me to write. So, I write now to process emotions and encapsulate the things I’m learning. It’s funny how trials and grief have can have that affect on people! So, thanks for writing through your trial. It’s encouraging.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Ami. It’s so sad that Jon died so young. No one will ever convince me that it was God’s will for Jon to die, but, for reasons only God understands, He did allow it to happen. I’m so glad you are trusting in is His goodness even though you don’t understand “Why me?”

  52. I am so sorry to hear you have ALS but I rejoice in your godly response to it. Your blog is fantastic, I am a very new blogger and am so impressed with the clean cut, concise and eloquence of your site. Thank you for being here. As for the above post, yes I agree with you entirely. However, my stance has always been, “why not me”? We are put through some horrendous trials, but why not? I long to see the wonderful outcome of all I have personally been through over the last 58 years. God is good, all the time.

  53. A powerful testimony and a delightful blog! I also like 2 Corinthian 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

  54. Thank you, Bill for sharing so eloquently the insights you have. There are very few people I find credible enough to really HEAR what they have to say about faith and scripture and God’s working in our lives. You are one of them, and I very much appreciate what you share. Blessings, Diane

  55. A family here locally, some of their stories for stopping for the one are on the God is Good blog, are travelling through such an extreme trial with their daughter who is 13. Their walk (while I do not believe the illness is from God) has been a witness to the entire school community and is causing many school staff in particular to start questioning their belief systems … Their response to the trial is an incredible witness …
    I honour you for a similar walk. Blessings. God is Good!

  56. What a beautiful testimony of how your continued faith, even in the midst of your greatest trial, displayed the love and goodness of God. I am constantly reminded that all things work together for the good…God bless you and your neighbors!

  57. I’ve nominated you for the way you inspire Life to the Fullest, Faith in The Father and Hope everyday. Bless you! http://shandraharris.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/who-is-your-inspiration/

  58. very inspirational!

  59. Your Christ-centered, authentic, and honest posts are such an encouragement and challenge! It is one thing for a Christian who is not struggling to talk about surrender. But wow, when someone dealing with a condition like ALS, the message is powerful. To put it mildly. May God bless you abundantly as you continue to serve Him.

  60. Excellent post! Excellent witness! And I love you backed everything up with the authority of the Scripture!

  61. Why NOT me? You are right. We are in no way exempt from the foibles of human life. Thanks for a great post.

  62. Very well written. I also asked that when I had a major surgery last year. With faith and hope in our hearts, and the support of people around us, we remain in God’s love. We who believe will find miracles in their own little way. Like spark of light in the dark. Things happen for a reason and it affects us and our loved ones directly and indirectly. I nominated your blog , by the way, for “Very Inspiring Blogger Award.” More power to you in all that you do.

  63. What an amazing man you are! I have to say Bill that you are my example. YOU are my go to human that I run to in my head when I need faith! Your last line here is epic! I need to remember that God can use us right where we are! HIS timing is awwwing. I read your blogs exactly when I need it in my life. THIS friendship of ours is nothing but a DIVINE appointment! Thank you for checking up on me. I’ve just been slacking here on my blog… working a lot of over time and not as inspired as I should be but I need to hang out here more for inspiration!!!

  64. Great post Bill. Can I re post your post with the wedding photo and uplifting story onto Dominate Your Diagnosis 30 posts of enCOURAGEment? Your are such an inspiration to many I would like to introduce you to my readers.

  65. Reminds me of Laura Story’s song, “Blessings”

  66. I really needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing your faith struggle and journey with us. You definitely gave me perspective: – )

  67. Dear Bill

    I have been pondering your blog for days now as it really has had a profound impact on my, so much so my wife and I were discussing it over the weekend and something interesting came out that I hope will encourage you.

    I understand that you are an ex firefighter, a man who everyday was prepared to lay down his life for another (ummmm seem to have heard that one somewhere before) and it just struck me that God doesn’t waste anything and uses all things for the good. I can’t help sensing that your eternal insight and humble submission to your condition is totally in keeping with your desire to give life to others. I struggle to recall such a powerful, authentic and moving demonstration of faith I want you to know that you have truly raised my eyes and whilst you may not have the physical mobility we all desire for you – your testimony has mobilised me and no doubt countless others. I didn’t understand why my family and I had to lose everything but I now know that without the suffering there would be no testimony, and without a testimony there is no Glory. This blog has firmly placed an eternal vision in my heart and mind and unlocked a new sense of purpose for my life and that of others – I am your arms and legs brother. I do pray in the name of Jesus and call on the name of Jesus , and cast out the spirit of disease in Jesus name. Jesus will heal you or He won’t – but let’s not accept He can’t!! Thank you my dear brother and friend. Craig

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging comments and for your prayers, Craig!
      I never was a firefighter, but I do feel called to help people to the extent that I can do so. I can tell that you share this calling.
      Thank you also for your faith-building message about healing! Great reminder.

  68. Thank you again. You are so right in all you’ve written here. There’s always a bigger picture. We see only in part, but God sees all of eternity and what matters most.

  69. Thank you Lord, for Bill’s comments herein and for the courage you give him. Am catching up with email after posting an item about some who’ve received healing and have added this as a footnote for those needing great encouragement.

    I long for your recovery, until then may He continue to bless you my friend and help you serve Him in such an immense capacity and example of servant-hood.

  70. Great word and great testimony, i always believe there is agreat picture behind what we all face. God is destined to glorify Himself in providing or denify, as John Piper always says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”, in good and bad times. All we need is grace to fit in that perfect will

  71. Wonderful post. You expresses so many of my personal thoughts. Thank you for your insight. Blessings to you.

  72. Hello, Bill. I’ve printed this for two people from our church who are in hospital and will take it to them this morning. Thank you for your service for our Lord.

  73. This post couldn’t be more timely and helpful. Jim is in the hospital again and I’ve been struggling with keeping the faith. Thank you

  74. Thank you, Kathleen; your comments helped me too!

    • Bill you continue to be an inspiration to us all. We are so blessed to have you on our lives. Happy Father’s Day to a wonderful brother. Love you. Ellen

  75. Reblogged this on declaringhispower and commented:
    When going through stuff its easy to ask Why Me, this post by Unshakable hope shows how God can use us as the vessels to touch his people even when we are going through our own trials. I was greatly encouraged

  76. Thank you for your encouraging testimony, What the enemy meant to bring you down with God has turned into a mighty testimony and many lives are being touched by you.
    I reblogging as this needs sharing.


  77. very inspiring, you certainly have a purpose on this earth with your blog!

  78. Lorraine Shellhaas

    Bill, I am completely convinced that your family and my family built our homes next door at the exact same time because God had and awesome plan for Mike and I. We knew of God, His Son and the Holy Spirit..we just had no idea what to do with our awareness. God worked through you and your precious family to “knock us in the head” as it were. I hate that you have ALS and I pray that God continues to cover you with mercy..we need you in our lives as long as God sees fit. Thank you for opting to flourish as the second example you speak of. You demonstrated such an honest love of God, such a reverence of his goodness and faithfulness, and in doing so Mike and I have become servants of God.

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging comments, Lorraine. You guys were great neighbors; glad you’re still our friends. Look for Mary and the girls at church tomorrow. Happy Father’s Day to Mike.

  79. Oh, Bill! Such a powerful testament of love and trust in God your life is! I’m grateful to call you a “friend.” Blessings, Peg.

  80. I am so honored to know you. I think my question would be, “Why do things like this have to happen at all?” But you answered that. God uses them in ways we cannot imagine. Your words and life are touching people; changing their perspectives… At least you’re changing mine.

    God bless you, always.


    • Thank you so much, Jessica. It’s sad that these things happen at all, but thankfully there will come a day where they no longer will happen!
      “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

  81. I enjoyed what you said about non-Christians making fun of Christians. Before I became a Christian, I did the same thing. I remember making fun of Christians who could name the day, month, and year of their conversions. Well, God has a sense of humor too, because soon after that, I became a believer at 2 p.m., Monday, April 7, 1980. God had been”pursuing” me with a Bible verse (I Corinthians 1: 25). I was in college, and my literary assignment that day was to read “In Praise of Folly” by the Monk Erasmus. (It’s an essay explaining I Corinthians 1: 25.) I had already repented of my sins a few weeks before, but this time I asked Jesus into my heart, and immediately I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit within.

    Some can’t name the day or month or year, and that’s OK. Regarding your neighbors, I’m delighted that you and your family introduced them to Christ. What a testimony!

    Regarding healing, Mark 16 lists healing as one of the sign gifts that will follow believers. I glean from the Bible that there is no “formula” for healing. Jesus as well as the prophets in the Old Testament and the believers in Acts witnessed many healings. Healings take place at my church–and elsewhere–today also. (If you look in the archives of recent services at Zionsake.org, you will see what I mean.)

    Hold fast to that dream you had awhile ago about being free to walk and run. That may have been a God-given dream. I believe in instantaneous miracles as well as gradual healings. Praise and worship CDs are very uplifting. My favorites are songs by Paul Wilbur and Ted Pearce. They usually sing them in English and in Hebrew on the same CDs. My favorite CD of all is John Paul Jackson’s “365 Names God” accompanied by instrumental music. I recommend these because, although I don’t believe in “formulas,” praising and worshiping God does create a wonderful atmosphere conducive to healing–and deepens our relationship with the God of the universe.

    As I write, I’m praying for your healing. It would really be cool if we could all form a voluntary prayer list and remember to pray for you at a certain time each day. I’ll sign up for 3 p.m. right now. (I think that’s what is meant by “the ninth hour,” the “the hour of prayer” Acts 10: 30.) Of course, we should all “pray without ceasing,” but I want to be thinking of you at that hour because it’s easy to remember. Blessings.


    • Thank you for your insightful comments, Sheryl. It’s good to hear that you made fun of Christians too:-) Thanks for sharing your testimony. I agree with you about there not being a “formula” for healing. Despite my being in this condition for almost 17 years, I believe that God heals more than ever before – I’ve seen unexplainable miracles! He is the same Jesus that healed in the Bible – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

      • You wrote, ” I’ve seen unexplainable miracles! He is the same Jesus that healed in the Bible – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

        AMEN!!! So have I. Hebrews 13: 8 is a great Bible verse. Love in Christ, S

  82. I am so glad to know that God makes all things work for good… I mean He takes the good, the bad and the ugly and somehow uses them for his own purpose. I am convinced that God is intimately involved in our everyday life, and if we would just let him open our spiritual eyes, we will see how He make all things good in His time.
    As always, another great post here!

  83. Thank you so much for your Spirit filled messages. I am so grateful to the Lord for having allowed me to have crossed paths with you. You teach your reader so much!

  84. Loved the post! Thank you for your faithfulness to the LORD. It is hard not to question God and why these things happen but as you say, when we realize our trials have a purpose, it makes it all worthwhile.

    • Thank you, Toni. I think it’s rare that people know the purpose of the trial as they’re going through it and this is why I think it’s so important to know God’s nature; if we believe that “God is good” and that “God is love” we can trust Him even when we don’t understand the reasons He allowed the trial.

      • Almost from the beginning of our trial 7-1/2 years ago, I knew the LORD’s hand was all over this one! I was not thrilled that this was the way He chose to answer my prayer to draw my husband closer to Himself, but wow, has it been effective! His ways are NOT my ways, but He alone is sovereign and He always knows what is best for us. I am truly grateful to Him for that! Thank you dear brother!

  85. You know that I love all of your posts but this one is if not the best, one of the best 🙂 . Praise God! I tend to see in long trials where I ask ‘why me’ in one attitude and as time passes that attitude changes because I will see God’s hand. I seldom ask ‘why me’ these days and ask more, “Why not me?” 😀

    You bless me so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! As always, you and your family are in my prayers. Take care! 😀

  86. Powerful lessons can only be taught by powerful teachers. Thank you, Bill, for this powerful post, your honesty, the extra effort you must expend to proclaim your message, and the stellar example you provide for us. You say, “In a hundred years, the eternal good that came from our trial will be the only thing that matters.” That statement brought to mind my grandmother, born in 1890. Well past the hundred-year mark, her positive example of perseverance and grace lives on in my heart, her influence continues . You, too, are creating such a legacy, but because you have challenged yourself to tell your story via the internet, the sphere of influence is wide indeed!

    • Thank you for your comments, Nancy. It does help me to put things in perspective by focusing on the earthly future (my kids and grandkids) and our eternal future. One of my favorite movie quotes is from “Gladiator;” “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” That is so true!

  87. I am so honored to be your sister in Christ. Stories like yours remind all of us that without God, we are weak and helpless and unable to deal with the detours of life. He is truly our Rock upon which we build not only our hope, but our testimony.

    I’d like to say I’m sorry for the journey you’re on, because I’m sure it’s not what you would have ever dreamed of. I’d like to also say THANK YOU, Bill, for not hiding in a hole and turning this time into a gigantic pity party. I don’t say that lightly; I mean it from my heart, because truly–any one of us could be up against the same type of trial, so none is immune. If ever I should be asked to go through something similar, believe me, I’ll remember this post. You’re offering so much more than words here. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you very much for your encouraging comments, Bonnie. I hope you never do go through a trial like this, but if you do, I know His grace will be sufficient for you also.

  88. Truly, He enables us to use our valleys of Bacca ( weeping) as a means to spring up from glory to glory and strength to strength. Our light affliction work for us an exceeding weight of eternal glory.
    Thank you for your perspective. Keep pressing on. ‘It is not what happens to you but how you handle what happen to you that matters.’

  89. It really is about entitlement, isn’t it? People don’t say that word out loud but in essence, many feel entitled to good health, kids “behaving,” having a “happy” life etc. when God didn’t promise any of that. Stuff happens..and God is right there with all our dilemmas.

  90. Your posts always bless me so much! Thanks.

  91. Excellent post! What a great testimony! I have a friend who is really struggling right now, and she thinks God is punishing her… for doing the right thing. I told her He would never do that; it’s not His character, and I tried to give her counsel according to His Word. We all struggle and may feel like a prisoner at one time or another, or always, but under different circumstances and to varying degrees. Thank you for sharing your heart and the different perspectives. 🙂

    • Thank you, Rene. I can relate to your friend; I went through that period, but friends really helped me overcome. It may seem like she doesn’t want your advice, but she’s listening and your words are confirming what the Holy Spirit is telling her.

  92. Thank you for sharing this … That it’s ok to ask God questions. We should ask God questions, but with the right heart attitude … He has all wisdom and knowledge, so we must ask with that in mind, going humbly before Him, acknowledging that His ways are higher than our ways and resting in that.

  93. You hit the nail on the head. How wonderful that you saw God use you to draw your neighbors to salvation. I was the first man and am now the second man in your example. Sometimes I slip and start thinking like the first man and ask why me? I enjoyed your post. God’s Blessing and strength to you.

  94. I admire your courage, strength and faith. Your ‘story’ gives me strength. May God’s blessing continually flow in your life.

  95. I am always humbled by your testimony. I hate to think my need to learn these lessons is any part of the reason you suffer. I am grateful that you speak so openly and teach us all so much.
    Thank you.

  96. Uncle Bill, I don’t know if you’ll ever truly realize what an inspiration you are to all of us. Thank you for grounding us, for helping us put things into perspective and most importantly helping us to understand HIS purpose for everything we endure. All our love from Wisconsin!

  97. Great thoughts. Thank you for your faithful witness. Perspective makes all the difference between hope and despair when going through trials, even when we struggle with our faith.

    • Thank you, KD. “Perspective makes all the difference between hope and despair when going through trials, even when we struggle with our faith.”
      You’re right, it’s all about perspective – an eternal perspective.

  98. I love this post very much, because, in my book, “Enough Tribulations – Finding Peace in the Midst of Tribulations,” the first chapter is, “Why Me Lord?”

    Your post resonated so well with this chapter, and some of the things I talked about. The trials and tribulations bring about God’s purpose for one’s life. However, if one fails to realize this, it might be construed that God is personally picking on them, and that they are in the situation alone.

    Until a person who experiences severe trials and tribulations realizes the greater purpose and glory to be accomplished, they will fail to pass the tests and miss the opportunity to experience God’s glory in their lives.

    • Thank you, Gertrude. I like what you said: “trials and tribulations bring about God’s purpose for one’s life. However, if one fails to realize this, it might be construed that God is personally picking on them, and that they are in the situation alone.” That’s the point I was making – thankfully being delivered from the trial also bring God glory.

  99. Wow! Praise God! It’s amazing how watching someone depend on God’s strength and His promises during their trial can bring us closer to the Lord. I’m so glad to read that you were a wonderful testimony to your neighbors. As a result, they accepted Christ as their Savior! When my father-in-law had his falling accident that left him a paralyzed from the neck down, he was praying for his dad to get saved. Through observing how his son responded to the tragedy, the dad finally accepted Christ into his heart. The whole family was praying for years for him to make this decision. It took watching his son have an eternal perspective during the trial. Thank you for this great post, Bill!

    • Thank you for sharing that testimony, Danielle. To the human mind it doesn’t make sense that tragedy could result in good; I mean, logically speaking, you would think people would look upon your father-in-law and me and want nothing to do with a God that would allow this. It’s proof of something other than human reason speaking to them – it’s the Holy Spirit.

  100. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I print some of your blogs and share them at my church. I also share them with non-christian family members going through trials, share them with home bound and nursing home resident friends, and link them to my face book page which has a mix of believers and non-believers. I did not ask your permission, but I felt from what you write that this would be all right. Let me know if it isn’t.

    • Thank you so much for sharing my posts, Eileen! I can tell from reading your posts that God has given you the gift of encouraging others, like you always encourage me.

  101. Excellent article. I also went through the why me? when I got M.S. when I was 21. Didn’t dwell there long as the question “why NOT me” kept coming to my mind. God has a higher purpose for us to impact this world to bring others to Christ for eternity. When we have Joy in the midst of despair, Hope in the midst of insurmountable challenges we are Light and Salt in the world who has no hope when disaster hits their lives. Thank you for your excellent, insightful writings. Indeed, God has created us for His pleasures and I believe He dances over us in Joy when we allow Him to work through our lives.

  102. God works in marvelous ways. No wonder Paul remarked: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). God bless!

  103. Our suffering affirms what Paul knew first hand: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) The strength and dimension of our faith can only be fully realized through His testing and our trusting in His Sovereign Goodness. Excellent post Bill!

  104. This is a great post! We may not understand how or why we must go through certain situations but God knows. God will even know how many lives are touched by our sickness or trial and how many lives will be changed by the way we act and better yet react.

    God is good and his mercy endures forever!

    • That’s right! I have been going through this trial for almost 17 years and I still have a lot of questions about why God allowed it; I don’t have all the answers, but I still trust and believe that it’s for the ultimate good – for me and for others.

  105. A thousand “Amens!” to this wonderful post

  106. Wonderful post. If the stone could speak, it might say, “Why me? Why all this chipping and cutting and sanding?” It can’t see the finished product that the sculptor saw even before he began. So God sees the finished product – the likeness of His beloved Son. It’s only through faith in Him and His word that we know there is such a “product” and how we long for it to be made manifest! Thanks for these words of wisdom and experience.

  107. Friend, I can relate. I was crippled and in bed for 1.5 years. I really like what you are doing with your blog. Well done!

  108. Thank you for sharing how much more effective a witness was you and your family’s trust in God when you became afflicted with ALS. I have always held that our daily actions and attitudes communicate more powerfully and effectively the grace and power of God’s love than any and all of our ‘evangelizing’ ever could.

    Grace and peace,

  109. I love it! Especially the part where you’re honest about the first man. I’ve met him too. I never looked at the other side where what I was really saying was, “God, why didn’t you give this to one of the other 6+ billion and exempt me?” I tell people now that because of the trials I went through, as hard as they were, I got a glimpse of God’s grace that few ever do. I know you have an even better glimpse now than before. Keep encouraging others!

    • Thank you, Chris. I’m glad I’m not the only one that deceived myself into thinking I was exempt from suffering. I’m glad you turned for the better and not the bitter!

  110. Dear Bill,
    Thank you so much for your blog. In September, 2011 my 26-year-old medical student son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury as the result of an automobile accident. He has somewhat recovered but is unable to resume his career path. As you have said, medical trials do not just affect our physical health. so many other areas of our lives have been affected in a negative way. Today for the millioneth time I have asked where is God in all of this (and of course why MY son)I opened my email and saw “Why Me?” thank you so much for your encouragement.


    • I am so sorry about your son, Nancy! I almost think medical trials like your son’s are more difficult on spouses, parents and siblings; they feel so frustrated and helpless. Please give me your son’s name so I can add him to my prayer list.

  111. My dear brother, your faith in the Lord through your struggles gives new meaning to the awesome power of the Holy Spirit…

    Praise the Lord for His gift of faith…

    Blessings in Christ, bruce

  112. Steve Ponchot

    Praise God! Your perspective is right on. I live (and work) in bed. My suffering is far different than yours, but I am learning the discipline, and benefits of praise (giving thanks is a response to what God has done, while praise is a response to Who God is.). We are told to “praise” or to “rejoice” always! I once thought that was impossible, yet I could not escape His command. With His enabling grace I have found I can genuinely give God praise in the face of anything because He does have purposes far beyond what we can see in this world. I admire the Grace that comes through your words. And yes, I will pray that He will heal you. The major war has been won. We now must see it lived out as He gives so abundantly! Your thoughts are are certainly encouraging! Thank you.

  113. What wonderful truths this portrays! I truly believe that you are affecting and will affect many people through your testimony. You are “trapped” now, but your rewards in Heaven when you receive your new body will be many! What an encouragement to others!

  114. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. As I go through a time of trial myself, I want my example to be that, too. May God use each of us today to reveal how great and loving he really is. May someone be drawn to the Savior because of our faith in spite of (or because of) our circumstances.
    Praising God for you and your unshakable hope!

  115. This is fantastic post, full of such important truths from the gospel, and I needed to read this today. I was just experiencing those feelings when this email came through. God used your message to speak to me directly today. Thank you for sharing your insight and lessons. It’s a blessing!

  116. Thank you very much for the re-blog, Bruce!

  117. Thank you very much for the re-blog!

  118. Thank you for the re-blog!

  119. I am honored to share your story…God’s light is shining so strong through your heart. It is amazing to me how many lives will be touched because of your faith and openness.

    Your spirit reminds me so much of my sister. She contracted polio when she was 12 years old. The doctors did not give her too many years to live…but she proved them wrong: – ) She is still feisty at 70! She is a quadriplegic, with only the use of her left hand and she can move her neck/head. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work, however, her real vocation is sharing the love of Jesus with all who meet her. She doesn’t really even have to try…her heart is so giving and full of love. I have never once heard her complain about her disability.

    God uses circumstances, like with you and my sister, to touch hearts in a way that no one else could. Your unique journey humbles me. Thank you for sharing: – )

  120. Thank you so much. I loved hearing about your “feisty sister,” I’ve never met her, but I like her!

  121. Thank you for mentioning me in your post, Joye.

  122. Thank you very much for the re-blog, my friend.

  1. Pingback: Overwhelmed by Grace – God's Grace ~ God's Glory!

  2. Pingback: “Why Me?” 9/28/2014 by Bill Sweeney | God's group

  3. Pingback: A Purpose for Pain? | joyemarie

  4. Pingback: Growing in Trials | Food For Thought...FromGod's Word...

  5. Pingback: Why Me? | somebodylovesmeblog

  6. Pingback: Why Me? | He Has Magnified His Word

  7. Pingback: Why Me? | Gods group

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: